Uterine fibroids, also called fibromyoma, uterine leiomyoma and various other names, are benign tumors that collect in the layer of smooth muscle found in the uterus. In most cases, they are asymptomatic, but when they grow to a large size, or when multiple uterine fibroids appear, uncomfortable symptoms occur. Uterine fibroids are responsible for many hysterectomies.
Uterine Fibroids Symptoms
The severity of uterine fibroids symptoms is proportional to the size of the lesions. They are also heavily dependent upon its location within the uterus. Small lesions located in a part of the uterus which is unaffected during menstruation and sexual intercourse will remain asymptomatic. As the lesion grows, or as more lesions form, symptoms become apparent.
Classic symptoms include bleeding from the vagina which is not part of the menstrual cycle, unusually heavy periods, painful periods, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain and painful intercourse. You may also experience a need to urinate frequently, or retain urine despite the perceived need to expel it. Similarly, you may find defecation to be unusually difficult or painful.
There is also a link between uterine fibroids and back pain, and severe or untreated cases may lead to infertility.
Treatment for Uterine Fibroids
Your doctor will probably start by managing any symptoms you're having while leaving the uterine fibroids alone until there's a pressing medical need to remove them. During this time, you'll undergo regular ultrasounds to check on their growth and make sure they're not presenting any immediate or serious problems.
While some alternative health practitioners claim is it possible to shrink uterine fibroids with herbal medicine, surgical interventions are the most common treatment. There are two surgical procedures used to treat fibromyoma: hysterectomies and myomectomies. In a hysterectomy, your entire uterus will be removed. This is done if there are too many lesions, or the lesions are too large, to remove individually. With a myomectomy, only the lesions will be removed.
Your doctor can also reduce blood flow to the lesions, thus shrinking them and stunting further growth, with a technique called uterine artery embolization. Hormone-based drugs can also be used to shrink the lesions, and high-intensity ultrasound procedures can also be used to target them and destroy the lesion tissue.
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